C'mon Man

Jamie Simpson in action

Jamie Simpson in action

I am not saying that WRGT Dayton, Ohio, meteorologist Jamie Simpson should have gone off on Bachelorette fans for complaining on social media about the weather break-in to warn of tornadoes, but I can understand his frustration.

Not that I didn't have a moment or two myself of "enough already" over the weekend when I couldn't see Saturday's repeat of Jeopardy Jamie's (sorry Ken J.) Friday win as my own local meteorologist warned of storms not immediately in my area--perhaps with ATSC 3.0 there will be more targeted weather warnings. 

But, of course (I hope "of course"), I recognized that my frustration hardly trumped the life-saving info broadcasters provide somewhere every day whether fans of Bachelorette or Jeopardy like it or not. 

Ironically, broadcasters voluntarily put themselves in the line of FCC fire when they drop regular programming to cover weather emergencies. They are not required to provide that emergency info--beyond the general and vague "public interest" standard--but if they do so, they must meet FCC requirements for accessibility of that information, and do so on the fly, sometimes while station personnel themselves are facing threats to their own property and safety.

In the past, the FCC has fined or admonished (an official reprimand) broadcasters who dropped regular programming and advertising to cover emergencies but failed to provide sufficient visual representations of audible warnings, or vice versa.

I always thought that was a bit harsh. A warning maybe, accompanied by a recognition of the running, wall-to-wall, coverage in which the missteps occurred. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.